X

Turkish-European Influence Group Collaborating with Turkish Government Officials to Aid Erdoğan in Elections

March 31st, 2022 12:19

Ger­man media is report­ing that a Turk­ish-Euro­pean NGO mon­i­tored as an extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tion in Ger­many is coor­di­nat­ing with Turk­ish gov­ern­ment offi­cials to help Pres­i­dent Erdoğan in next year’s upcom­ing elec­tions. Accord­ing to the Welt report:

March 27, 2022: Hun­dreds of peo­ple are sit­ting at white round tables in a hall in Ankara on an after­noon at the end of Feb­ru­ary. Food is being served, the guests are chat­ting ani­mat­ed­ly. Then the scene, which can be seen on videos on the Inter­net, becomes qui­et. For a spe­cial speak­er takes the stage: Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan. The evening is impor­tant for him: Here, at the con­fer­ence of the lob­by asso­ci­a­tion Union of Inter­na­tion­al Democ­rats (UID), Erdo­gan sup­port­ers from many coun­tries meet — the vast major­i­ty of them from Ger­many. In 2023, the Turks will elect their par­lia­ment and pres­i­dent — and Erdo­gan is count­ing on sup­port from Ger­many: The large com­mu­ni­ty of 1.4 mil­lion Turks eli­gi­ble to vote in Ger­many is sup­posed to pro­vide him with votes. The activ­i­ties Erdo­gan and his par­ty, the AKP, are under­tak­ing to win the favor of the for­eign com­mu­ni­ty are being mon­i­tored by the Ger­man Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion. This is because the line between legit­i­mate polit­i­cal engage­ment and state influ­ence from abroad is blurred. The Fed­er­al Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion (Bun­de­samt für Ver­fas­sungss­chutz) has now stat­ed in response to a query that it has been reg­is­ter­ing meet­ings of AKP offi­cials with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of par­ty-relat­ed asso­ci­a­tions in Ger­many since 2021. There is a “con­sid­er­able mobi­liza­tion poten­tial.” [Trans­lat­ed by DeepL with edits]

Read the rest here.

The arti­cle fur­ther notes that the Union of Inter­na­tion­al Democ­rats is in con­tact with Metin Külünk, who coor­di­nates Erdoğan’s re-elec­tion cam­paign in Europe. Accord­ing to the arti­cle, in 2016, Külünk entered the apart­ment of a leader of the now-banned vio­lent Turk­ish pro-Erdoğan rock­er group, Osma­n­en Ger­ma­nia. Accord­ing to wire­tapped tele­phone calls, Külünk was car­ry­ing envelopes in which cash was found. Inves­ti­ga­tors believed this cash was being used to buy firearms.

The Welt arti­cle also iden­ti­fies Derin AnaI­iz, a Twit­ter feed run by Hüseyin Ersöz in south Ger­many who spreads con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries such as that the Turk­ish oppo­si­tion is being con­trolled by the US, Ger­many, and the UK. The Welt also says it has chat records show­ing Ersöz received instruc­tions from Hasan Doğan, Chief of Cab­i­net of the Turk­ish Pres­i­den­cy, and a screen­shot from Ersöz’s phone call­ing Erdoğan advis­er Müc­ahit Arslan “big broth­er Müc­ahit (lit­er­al­ly Mujahideen, but also used as a Turk­ish name). Accord­ing to an anony­mous AKP insid­er in Ger­many, the Twit­ter feed is attempt­ing to incite Turks against Germany.

The Union of Inter­na­tion­al Democ­rats (UID; for­mer­ly known as the Union of Euro­pean Turk­ish Democ­rats) describes itself as a vol­un­tary NGO  found­ed in 2004 and oper­at­ing in sev­er­al Euro­pean coun­tries. Its piur­pos­es include increas­ing Turks’ eco­nom­ic, polit­i­cal, and social activ­i­ties and “sis­ter com­mu­ni­ties” abroad with­out alien­at­ing their iden­ti­ties and val­ues. Its pur­pos­es also include com­bat­ting Islam­o­pho­bia. Ger­man media has described the UID as a lob­by­ing group for Pres­i­dent Erdoğan and his AKP that empha­sizes Turk­ish val­ues and cus­toms. The Ger­man Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion mon­i­tors the UID, describ­ing it as “nation­al­ist” and incom­pat­i­ble with Ger­many’s free demo­c­ra­t­ic order.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed yes­ter­day that the head of the UID announced the group is set­ting up a US branch.